In an opinion that was handed down on August 25, a Suffolk County judge dismissed the majority of a construction worker's worksite safety violation claims that were brought due to the personal injuries he sustained following a fall from an affixed ladder at a worksite.
Clearly, the mere fact that a judge dismissed the plaintiff's statutory claims under Labor Law §§ 240(1) and 241(6) is not noteworthy; but the Court's footnote, which highlighted an important split among New York's appellate divisions, is significant.
Despite acknowledging that the First Department has held that permanently affixed ladders may be deemed "safety devices" under the Labor Law, the court noted that
"[T]he Second and Third Departments have consistently rejected finding that permanent ladders or stairs are safety devices within the meaning of Labor Law 240 (1). Indeed, "a stairway which is, or is intended to be, permanent - even one that has not yet been anchored or secured in its designated location, or completely constructed - cannot be considered the functional equivalent of a ladder or other ‘device' as contemplated by [Labor Law] Section 240 (1)."